County of Marin - News Releases - Presidential Primary Election Coming March 3

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2020

Presidential Primary Election Coming March 3

Voter Information Guide being mailed; ballots to follow soon

San Rafael, CA – Voter information guides for the March 3, 2020, Presidential Primary Election, are being mailed to registered voters in Marin County. The guide from the Marin County Elections Department includes the address of the voter’s polling place and important information about voting for presidential candidates.

Voters who are registered with a party will only vote for a candidate that is on their party’s ballot. People registered as No Party Preference (NPP) will get a non-partisan ballot without any presidential candidates.

“The presidential primary election can be very confusing,” said Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts. “The primary election is part of each party’s nominating process for presidential candidates. It gets a little more confusing since some parties are having a semi-open primary and some parties are having a closed primary. The parties make the decision about whether or not to have an open or closed primary election.”

The American Independent, Democratic, and Libertarian parties have opted for an open primary and will allow No Party Preference voters to select their ballot and vote for a presidential candidate.

The Green, Peace and Freedom, and Republican parties have opted for a closed primary, so people wishing to vote on one of those ballots will need to re-register with that party.

The first page in the voter guide outlines the options in detail, and Roberts encourages all voters to take time and study it thoroughly.

“It is really important that voters understand how the primary election works,” Roberts said. “We want the process to go smoothly for voters.”

If voters registered as No Party Preference want to vote in one of the open primaries (American Independent, Democratic, or Libertarian), contact the Elections Department by calling 415-473-6456. Those who want to vote in one of the closed primaries (Green, Peace and Freedom, or Republican) will have to re-register with that party.

Potential voters who miss the February 18 deadline to register can visit the Elections Department starting February 19 to register and vote provisionally. They may register and vote provisionally on Election Day at their polling place or in the Elections Department

Roberts said the process will be easier in the November general election because all candidates nominated by their party to run for president will be on the ballot. On November 3, voters will be able to vote for whomever they wish regardless of party.

Voters should be aware of these important dates before the election:

  • February 3: Vote-by-mail ballots mailed and voting by mail begins in Elections Department weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
  • February 13: Contact Elections Department if you have not received your mail ballot
  • February 18: Last day to mail voter registration form
  • February 19: Starting this day, residents may register and vote provisionally in the Elections Department; on Election Day, they may register and vote provisionally at their polling place
  • February 25: Application for a vote-by-mail ballot must be received by the Elections Department to fulfill the request by mail

March 3 is Election Day, and here are key things to remember:

  • Polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Voters may register and vote provisionally at their polling place
  • Elections Department open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for registering and voting provisionally
  • Vote-by-mail ballot envelopes must be signed and postmarked on or before this day
  • Voters can drop their vote-by-mail ballot (in its signed envelope) at the Elections Department or any polling place by 8 p.m.

Check the Voter Information Portal online for information about your registration status or vote-by-mail ballot, or call 415-473-6456. Follow the Elections Department on Facebook.


Lynda Roberts
Registrar of Voters
Elections Department

Marin Civic Center Administration Building
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 121
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6401
Email: Lynda Roberts
Elections website